Why attending Grassland and Muck is a good investment

For many farmers, taking a day off can be difficult, but spending that time at Grassland & Muck could be the best investment of the year.

The event, which takes place on Wednesday 24 – Thursday 25 May in Stoneleigh, Warwickshire, will offer visitors a unique opportunity to gather the latest information and solutions to maximise their profitability.

With more than 250 exhibitors, an abundance of technical advice, new machinery and working demonstrations set across 76ha, it is sure to help every farm business to make the most of their grassland.

See also: 4 steps to putting together a nutrient management plan

“Whether you’re looking for new livestock handling facilities, feeding equipment or nutritional advice, you are sure to find it at Grassland & Muck 2017,” says event organiser Alice Bell.

Here are six top reasons to attend:

1. Grow more grass and improve its quality

From reseeding with new varieties to improved grassland management, there is plenty farmers can do to increase grass yields and quality.

In the forum programme, Yara’s Jon Telfer will be explaining how small changes such as measuring grass growth are the key to boosting productivity and saving money, while GrassMaster’s Charlie Morgan will consider physical sward assessment, nutrient evaluation and grazing methods.

Hot on the heels of the dry spring, visitors can also compare varieties in the growing plots – including drought and flood tolerant species – and examine the new Recommended List which will be unveiled at the event.

2. Make the most of nutrients

With more than 40% of the UK’s grassland deficient in potash and supplies of soil sulphur depleted, it’s important to analyse the nutrient status of soil, and balance manure and fertiliser applications to meet crop requirements at minimal cost.

The newly released RB209 handbook includes key changes to nutrient calculations, while visitors will also be able to see muck spreaders and slurry injectors in action, illustrating how to maximise application efficiencies.

“Slurry and muck is a hugely valuable source of nutrients – worth about £270/ha in fertiliser replacement value,” says Adas’s John Williams, who will be speaking about manure management in the forum programme.

“Treat your muck like the valuable fertiliser it is and it will undoubtedly save you a lot of money.”

3. Focus on soil compaction and drainage

About 70% of UK grassland soils suffer from degradation, stunting grass growth and making access difficult when wet. To help farmers identify and alleviate common issues, including poor drainage, Adas will be running a soil and nutrient advice clinic, to which visitors can bring their own soil samples or analyses for discussion.

Paul Newell-Price will be leading practical talks with demonstration soil pits on how to examine the soil profile, identify problem areas and discuss appropriate action to remedy them.

4. Grazing for performance

Many dairy farmers have adopted rotational grazing to maximise production from forage, with beef and sheep farmers hot on their heels.

For the first time, Grassland & Muck will include a mob grazing feature on a herbal ley with temporary fencing options and the latest advice on grazing systems.

In the forum programme, AHDB experts will be pairing up with case study farmers to explore how to boost productivity from grass, as well as how to include grass in an arable rotation to improve subsequent yields.

5. Compare machinery in working demonstrations

New machinery, equipment and innovative products are always a big draw at the Grassland & Muck Event, and this year promises plenty of exclusive launches.

Visitors will be able to experience large-scale working demonstrations of forage harvesters, balers, muckspreaders, tractors and mowers, to name but a few.

Two working silage clamps will also feature a range of grass handling machinery, with experts on hand to discuss how clamp design and management contribute to achieving the best quality silage.

6. Farmers Weekly seminar

Event media partner Farmers Weekly is hosting a question time seminar on the second day of the event (Thursday 25 May at 8.45am) in association with Germinal.

Located in the Forum Theatre (stand location 301) it will give farmers the opportunity to quiz a panel of experts and farmers practising different techniques on how to make more from grass – whether you’re running an extensive or intensive system.

Complimentary breakfast will also be provided.

Plan your day and save money by booking tickets in advance at the Grassland & Muck website.